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Women’s Lacrosse Coach Meghan McNamara inducted into Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse HOF

By Amisha Temal, Staff Writer

On Jan. 28, 2023, Meghan McNamara was inducted into the Long Island Metropolitan Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place at the Long Island Marriott Hotel in Uniondale. It was the Foundation’s 37th annual Hall of Fame ceremony. 

The Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Foundation (LIMLF) was established in 1985. It highlights the heritage and distinction of the sport on Long Island. Every year, LIMLF holds a dinner at which numerous individuals earn a spot in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors coaches, players and officials who have been most influential in the development and future of lacrosse. The inductees are determined by the Board of LIMLF and the votes of members of the Foundation. 

The Division II lacrosse team’s abundance of achievements under her tenure makes her one of the most successful coaches in the history of lacrosse. She has accumulated a 195-38 record in Division II, ranking eighth all-time in the winning percentage of lacrosse coaches. In 2012 and 2013, McNamara was named Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Coach of the Year. McNamara won her 200th game as head coach on March 13, 2021,  defeating CCSU 11-5.

McNamara spoke about her overall career and passion for lacrosse.

“I developed that passion for lacrosse probably in sixth grade. I initially loved soccer, but my sister started playing lacrosse, and she needed someone to play with. As the youngest sister, I obviously had to play with her,” she said. We were able to go to the board of education and start a lacrosse program at our middle school. In eighth grade, we had a girls’ lacrosse program. It was just so enjoyable. It was fresh. It was brand new. I was in my teenage years,getting into high school, and it just started clicking. I played many sports like basketball and soccer, but lacrosse was amazing.”

McNamara graduated from the University of Maryland in 2001. She had four national championships during her college career. Before becoming a coach, McNamara taught as a junior sailing instructor. Her experiences as an educator at the time led her to realize that this is what she was meant to do. 

“I sailed during my summers. I started teaching sailing when I was a junior sailing instructor. It was just so awesome being able to be hands-on and teach these little kids how to sail. That was eye-opening. In college, we did a lot of camps and clinics. I always wanted to be able to teach. I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. My family is full of educators,” she said. “With the sport, it just naturally clicked. I thought when I graduated, I might as well give it a try with collegiate athletics. Stony Brook started their program, and their head coach at the time needed an assistant. So the timing just worked out.” 

McNamara is entering her 16th season at LIU.

“Every year is exciting. Every year there are new opportunities, players and teams. I’ve been here since 2006. So, it’s always been awesome because you’re working to do the best that you can to be able to put out a championship team and be able to compete. The transition into Division I has been nice,” she said.

As with most occupations, coaching collegiate athletics can get overwhelming and stressful. 

“As a coach, you have to know when you can turn off the button and rest. You have to make sure you have the most energy and mental capacity to  coach and take care of the team. This will enable you to prepare the team and student-athletes. I listen to podcasts and read books to continue to grow and get better. I need to manage all the life changes and things taking place in our world and student athletes’ worlds and their families and our families,” she said. “You need downtime, you’re human. It’s not all [about] sports. You still have life and family outside. When I get a chance, I love getting on the golf course and spending time with my family. I love true crime. I’ll also read some historical nonfiction books to keep learning, as well as some romance.”

McNamara was shocked to learn she was being inducted into the Hall of Fame. She recalls being completely speechless.

“I couldn’t really talk about it. I couldn’t really believe it. Everything about it was very surreal. It’s not something I expected to accomplish. I never thought I would be inducted. This honor belongs to all of my team members, the teams I’ve worked with, my college experience and my colleagues. It’s our reward because I would never be where I am without everyone who’s been involved in my entire journey. I was extremely excited and emotional at the time of the ceremony. I was putting all my emotions on the back burner. It was so exciting and I was so happy. The ceremony was amazing,” she said. “My staff was at the ceremony as well as so many trailblazers that have made lacrosse such a huge hub. It was amazing listening to their stories. I had four of our players that were able to volunteer and be there and see the lacrosse community coming together for a wonderful night. It was incredible. It was memorable, meaningful and so neat to be in the same room as these men and women that have done so much for this amazing sport. Being associated with all these people is incredible.”

One of McNamara’s favorite quotes is, “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end,” by Ursula K Le Guin and Ernest Hemingway. Rather than focusing on a destination, it emphasizes that life is an ongoing journey. 

“I just want to play and do my finest. I want to do my all for my team. I just keep fighting. It’s fun that way. I love the thrill of it. I love competition. It’s fun to be challenged and to figure out how to beat this and come out on top. It’s a process. It’s patience, sweat, tears, smiles and everything you experience day by day,” she said. “Sometimes you don’t even know if you’re ever going to get there. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel mentality. Motivation is something that is just ingrained in me.”

Senior psychology major Hannah Kenneally spoke on head coach McNamara’s induction into the Long Island Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Kenneally played in 15 games in 2022, starting in 14 of them. She tallied 18 goals and 16 assists. She was named NEC Prime Performer on Feb. 13 and Feb. 27, and has been one of the top point scorers  on the team in her time. 

“I love coach Meg so much. Since transferring here, she has helped my personal growth tremendously. Her door is always open, and she dedicates herself to being there for her team on and off the field. I am very grateful because she pushes me to be better every day in areas I struggle with, even if it doesn’t directly have to do with lacrosse. She is a very patient and kind human, all while getting on us to push us to be better lacrosse players,” she said. “She puts a lot of focus on preparing for life after college. This is greatly appreciated since it isn’t technically necessary, but it shows the type of person  she is and how much she cares about us. Our team is so proud of Coach Meg for her accomplishment of being inducted into the Long Island hall of fame. She deserves it.”

LIU won their first conference game of the season on Saturday, March 18, defeating Saint Francis University 16-7 at home. They take on Merrimack College this Saturday, March 25 on the road.

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